The analysis was drawn from a series of focus groups and a bipartisan national poll conducted for Lifetime Television and the Center for Policy Alternatives. The joint project was called Women's Voices 2000.
The findings suggest it won't be easy for politicians of either party to fashion a "women's message" because the women's vote is far from monolithic, and some of the issues of concern to large numbers of women are so tough and so complex they will require very creative solutions.
For example, two of the major issues of concern to poll respondents were the ever-tightening "time crunch" (more time at work, less time with family) and what was perceived by many respondents as a decline in the nation's moral values. The best way to reverse the decline in moral values, according to the poll, was for parents to spend more time with their children. But the ever-increasing demands of work have made that virtually impossible for most families.
According to the poll, 59 percent of women with children under 6 said they were finding it harder to balance the demands of work and family now than they did four years ago, when the last Women's Voices analysis was conducted. And 30 percent said it was "much harder."
The poll also found:
* That a large majority of women - 72 percent - would like their
health insurance to be independent of their employment. This was not even one of the issues the pollsters had intended to ask about, but it came up repeatedly in the focus groups that preceded the polling. Politicians should take notice.
* That 93 percent of African- American women, 91 percent of Latinas, 90 percent of Asian-American women and 87 percent of white women said equal pay and benefits for women should be one of the top policy priorities in the United States.